Chair’s Corner Spring 2012

chair's corner

English in Motion

Table of Contents

English in Motion: Behind the Scenes

Maureen Goggin

This issue of Accents on English has taken as its theme English in Motion, a perfect descriptor for a new Department of English enterprise: a promotional video. The two-minute film, titled ENGLISH: Start Here, Go Anywhere, was designed to show the endless possibilities an undergraduate English degree offers. The digital piece begins by dispelling myths and misconceptions about being an English major. Then, through a series of short vignettes featuring English department faculty, graduate students, undergraduate students, and an alumna, viewers learn that an English degree has qualities vital in today’s competitive market: English is versatile. English is innovative. English is real world. English is relevant.

The message: start with an English degree and you can go anywhere. The video now graces our department homepage or can be seen at http://vimeo.com/asuenglish/english-start-here-go-anywhere. How did the film come to be and who was involved in the production of it?

In fall 2010, I asked Kristen LaRue and Bruce Matsunaga to work on a dynamic, compelling video that would capture the attention of potential students as they are deciding on a major and on a university. I wanted to show these students the myriad directions an English major can take while in the program and after graduating. Bruce and Kristen began preliminary work on the project in October 2010, coordinating with Erik Holsinger, a MultiMedia Producer in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The trio came up with a design that would show what it is like to be a student in the Department of English at ASU—with dynamic classes, exciting internships, and interesting career possibilities. With the help of English internship coordinator Ruby Macksoud, Kristen and Bruce identified faculty, students, and alumni to be featured. They wrote a series of questions generating a script for the video that captures exactly the sentiment we were looking for—the richness of our English programs and the robustness of the experiences here.

The group filmed from May 2011 to October 2011. The rest of the production included editing, transcribing, securing permissions, and selecting music, the latter of which they did with the help of a student focus group.

Kristen, Bruce, and Erik shot many hours of footage; much could not fit into the two-minute promotional piece we had as our goal, so be on the lookout for more videos. Professor Mark Lussier stars in one that is already completed: ENGLISH: Mark Lussier—A Life of the Passions.

According to our latest figures as of the date I’m writing this (February 7, 2012), Erik tells us that our video has had over 2,100 views after only two weeks. That is a healthy number of hits. I am grateful to Kristen, Bruce, and Erik for their vision and their hard work, and to Carrie Grant who transcribed all of the filmed interviews—not an easy task as anyone who has transcribed an interview will tell you. I’m also thankful to Erik’s student workers and to Bob Sturges. I am especially appreciative of the faculty—Ayanna Thompson and Betty Hayes—students—Ashley (Hovik) Lemieux, Elizabeth Weckel, Ben Karris, and Tyler Jones—and alumna—Brittany Hilgers—who appear in the film. The production would not have worked without them and without their enthusiasm.